Diocese of Manchester, NH Releases List of Accused Priests
The Diocese of Manchester, NH has released a list of priests accused of sexual abuse. Now that church officials have taken this first step, we call on them to update the list to include critical information that has been left off, and to explain these omissions.
Releasing a list of names is important to acknowledging the depth and breadth of clergy abuse in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, as we have come to expect, the list of names and details released today is incomplete and inadequate.
For example, church officials in Manchester have omitted the names of priests that spent time in the Diocese of Manchester but were accused of abuse and listed elsewhere. To us, this omission makes no sense because clergy that abused children will likely have victims everywhere they worked.
Similarly, key details related to the allegations were left off the list. Church officials can and should include information related to when the allegations were first received, what steps the diocese took in response to those allegations and —critically — when those actions were taken and by whom. These facts are necessary to understanding not only the scope of abuse, but also the scope of any cover-up that may have occurred within the diocese.
And while church officials did take the step to list religious order priests, they did not list any allegations made against nuns, religious brothers and lay employees.
Women religious were very involved in most Catholic schools, and as abuse by nuns begins to come more and more into the public sphere, we believe that it is important for diocesan officials to make special outreach to potential survivors of nun abuse. These survivors should get the same attention that survivors of other clerics receive, and Bishop Peter Libasci should do special outreach, encouraging them to come forward and report what they experienced to law enforcement.
Now that this list has been released, we call on the state attorney general to open an investigation into clergy abuse in New Hampshire. In 2002, an AG investigation was key to uncovering information about abuse in New Hampshire, and at that time church officials agreed to “periodic audits” by the attorney general’s office. Now in 2019, we hope Attorney General Gordon MacDonald will build on the success of 2002 and empanel another grand jury and help the full truth be known.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)